Latest on Oswalt
The Astros have a deal in place to trade right-hander Roy Oswalt to the Philadelphia Phillies if the ace pitcher agrees to waive his no-trade clause, a person close to the negotiations told MLB.com on Thursday.
The Astros are waiting a response from Oswalt after approaching him about accepting a deal to the Phillies, but the teams have agreed upon the amount of money from Oswalt’s contract the Astros will absorb, as well as the players Houston will get in return.
Oswalt is scheduled to pitch for the Astros on Friday at Minute Maid Park, and the both sides are hoping to get the deal done at some point today.
Oswalt is owed about $5 million more this year and is due to make $16 million next season in the last year of his contract, but there’s a club option for 2012 that would pay him another $16 million. He said last week the option wouldn’t be an issue when it came to approving a trade.
The Astros have scouted Phillies left-hander J.A. Happ‘s most recent starts, and he likely would be included in the deal.
Happ, 27, is a left-hander who would immediately be inserted into the Astros’ rotation. He went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA in 35 games last year, including 23 starts, and had three complete games and two shutouts. He was second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, but has battled through a strained left forearm for much of the year.
Happ is making $470,000 this year, is younger than Oswalt and could be part of the Astros’ rotation for years to come. And if he pitches like he did in 2009, the Astros will have a good piece in their rotation.
The Astros could also be getting Minor League first baseman Jonathan Singleton, the team’s eighth-round pick last year. He’s 18 years old and is hitting .319 with 12 home runs, 57 RBIs and a .962 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 248 at-bats at Class A Lakewood. He’s a left-handed hitter with power.
The Phillies are reluctant to give up Singleton, which may be why the Astros are willing to put up some money to absorb Oswalt’s contract.